MP demands assurances over Government cuts to local schools and colleges

Geoffrey Cox has tabled parliamentary questions demanding that Government Ministers reassure schools and colleges across Torridge and West Devon, facing cuts to their funding because of Whitehall blundering

 

Geoffrey Cox, MP for Torridge and West Devon, has tabled parliamentary questions demanding that Government Ministers reassure schools and colleges across Torridge and West Devon, facing cuts to their funding because of Whitehall blundering.

After telling schools and sixth form colleges how much funding they would receive next year for teaching 16-18 year olds, the Learning and Skills Council, a government quango suddenly changed its mind. It failed to predict the number of students accurately. It has now cut school budgets across the country by up to £350,000 for sixth form colleges and £55,000 for an average school. Geoffey Cox is demanding action to ensure that local schools and sixth form colleges in Torridge and West Devon will not have to turn away students next year because of this gross bureaucratic incompetence.

The Association of School and College Leaders has said a sixth form of 250 pupils would be £50,000 to £55,000 worse off next year, while a sixth form college of 3,000 would lose around £350,000.

The shortfall for Tavistock College will be approximately £86,000. The MP has been informed that this will inevitably lead to voluntary and compulsory redundancies and an urgent revision of the balanced budget that was to be presented to Governors.

This latest catastrophe comes just weeks after the Government froze 144 further education college building projects, including North Devon College, which is vital to the regeneration of Torridge and North Devon, and after the College had spend hundreds of thousands of pounds with government encouragement in developing the idea. Geoffrey Cox has written to the Secretary of State for Innovation Universities and Skills, John Denham, calling on him to come clean about what will happen to these projects and urging him to safeguard North Devon College.

Together, these Government blunders could deprive many young people of the opportunity to study.

Geoffrey Cox said: "Just a month after reassuring schools that they would be fully funded, and at a time when local schools are already facing intense financial pressures, the Government has pulled the rug from under their feet. Because of Whitehall incompetence, schools and colleges may be forced to turn away sixth formers who are desperate to learn and acquire the qualifications they need to succeed. "Further education colleges have also been plunged into financial turmoil by having their building projects frozen. This is yet more evidence that the Government is suffering from terminal incompetence and simply cannot be trusted with taxpayers' money."

Surgery Dates

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2017

Saturday 2nd December
Bideford, Torrington
 
Saturday 16th December
Holsworthy, Tavistock